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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  December 5, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST

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congressional efforts toward deficit reduction. barry anderson, deputy director of the national governors' association, talks about state budgets. what do francis, author of "the checkbook guide to help plans for federal employees." "washington journal" is next. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] host: good morning, and welcome to "washington journal" this monday, december 5, 2011. the houses in at noon and in the senate harry reid plans to unveil a new proposal to extend a payroll tax holiday. president obama meets with the treasury secretary to geithner. later this morning he will meet with college presidents on affordability. members of the president's campaign staff, also his former
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press secretary was on the sunday talk shows yesterday. our question is about the 2012 presidential race. it is for democrats. are you enthusiastic about president obama's reelection efforts at this point? here are the numbers to call it, democrats only -- let's look at "the hill."
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are you pleased as a democrat or are you concerned? how is your level of enthusiasm compared to when he was running in 2008, and are you going to put your money where your mouth is and either contribute financially or your time to his campaign? let's get to the phones and hear from ruby, a democratic caller from riverside, california. caller: yes. i think president obama has a good chance of winning because i think he should go on the social security -- i think most people want to keep their social
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security and that should be one of the strong points. also what i fear is the voting machines. considering that 2000 and 2004 election where they were proven preprogrammed, i am shocked nobody -- the republican affiliate's controlled the voting machines. i am shocked they have not delve into some of the surprise elections and change the controls of the machines. god help us all and made the best person win. host: looking at "the hill" story. jumping down into the story, it says --
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dee joins us from portland, oregon. caller: you know, i think that obama has an excellent chance for reelection. and even though i know what the polls are saying about him, that he has lost some much ratings, i don't believe that the american people are so ignorant that they don't say that this man has been deliberately held back. when we look at obama, we look at those good that he tried to do that he was not permitted to do for race and other issues that he had to deal with.
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i also think, up -- what other choice? other than the people will put us in this horrible mess? host: how enthusiastic are you? it sounds like you are confident but how enthusiastic are you personally about his campaign? caller: i will be giving him my money. that is out of his test the i am. and that will be supporting him. working for his reelection. host: dee dee mentioned race. here is a story from "politico."
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you can see the coverage -- coming out from the white house last month. louisville, thelma joins us. caller: i am just very enthusiastic over obama's reelection. like your last caller, i don't see where we have any choice in voting for him and reelecting him. host: let me ask you something. saying you did not have any other choice -- it sounds like you is do you just cannot see any options and are just supporting and by default. are you just supporting him because you do not see any other option? caller: he has been a wonderful
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president, like the last caller said. i don't believe in the polls that say he is dropping in numbers, even with the black constituents. because he doesn't to place his feelings on just blacks -- the country as a whole, blacks and whites. i feel like he really just wants to help adjust the poor. and i don't see any republicans that are running that -- that have tried to run that even gave it a second thought. he does not separate america between now -- between race and i think it is a wonderful thing. and i think america sees that, that it is not a racial thing. he just wants to help the poor and reestablished at least some middle america, middle-class
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america. host: here is a story about the president's recent visit to scranton, pennsylvania, from abc news. we heard about the president's visit to scranton recently. paul joins us from utah. caller: good morning, how are you this morning? i would be very disappointed that there is not somebody credible enough to run against president obama. i did vote for him. i was very excited about his agenda. but his performance has disappointed me because i
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expected him to do a great deal more than he has. but as far as i in concerned, it has been business as usual. there has not been a real change that he proposed to us. maybe in his next four years he might be able to fulfil what we expected him to do, but he really has not done anything i am enthusiastic about. host: supporting a third-party candidate? caller: gary johnson, i would go after, because he is amazing but he does not get any foothold. there is nothing that allows him to provide that kind of element to me. i would love a third party. but unfortunately, we can't get any of that because we have had so much money and involved in politics.
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if we had government-funded voting element, that would be great. but with all of the big money involved with the elections, we might as well be running a two- party state like we do right now. i am very disappointed in that. i will not vote for mitt romney. i see the way mormons' run utah and i cannot get behind any aspect of any mormon doing anything here. host: why is that? caller: well, the way that they run the state of utah is very pro-mormon, and they put church in front of state. it would be the same way with any baptist or ne right wing conservative.
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host: you are concerned with the religious -- religious aspect and not with the mormon faith itself? caller: both, absolutely. i grew up in utah and i say the way that they -- that aspect, and a primary element. host: are question focusing on president obama reelection efforts and wondering how enthusiastic democrats are. here are the numbers to call -- a comment from bill on twitter -- let's listen to what former press secretary robert gibbs had to say this weekend. he was making a visit to "face the nation" on cbs. >> i think he has had 62 fund-
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raisers so far in the air talking about down the line he may raise a record billion dollars. but the question i keep hearing from both democrats and republicans is, why does the president continued to sort of hold himself above the battle as far as what is going on with his day job, being president? how could you just sit there and let this super committee fail, just fall on its face? >> to the super committee was a creation for congress, for congress to do its job. but understand what barack obama did for the super committee. he laid out a plan that would have easily restructured our long-term fiscal picture and got an hour debt under control. he got members of his own party to support that and he rallied the country around his plan to support it. that is what the president had to do. but the president cannot fix any of the problems people have in this country or chairman reince priebus outlined without the do
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you want to do it. we have a debate in congress but to extend the payroll tax cut. 160 million americans are looking at a tax increase at the end of the year if republicans and democrats don't work together to extend it. the truth is, the republican party simply doesn't want to extend the tax cut for middle- class families. they are far more concerned about protecting the tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. host: former white house press secretary robert gibbs speaking on "face the nation" yesterday. let's hear from tim calling us from pittsburgh. go right ahead. caller: i would like to echo one of your earlier callers, one particular aspect that i am very disappointed with mr. obama -- next the -- excited about his reelection but his handling of climate change has been dismal. if we look back over the last few weeks we have seen dr. richard muller from uc berkeley
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do a monumental reversal, so we need to address climate change despite any remaining scientific uncertainties. and now but two degree limit on temperature increase that everybody was hoping we could get to and not surpass is now unattainable. and the information coming out of the oceanographic community with regards to what emissions are doing to the oceans is quite disturbing. the international program on the state of oceans announced this year that we are pushing the oceans toward an extinction event. some of that is already being seen in the pacific northwest with the shellfish growers down 20% because the water coming out of the deep oceans is to s said it -- acidic.
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host: and mixed message over his chance of but you are not excited about what he has done so far. caller: i think his chances are good. my central point is with all of the gop, openly denying climate or running from previous positions in favor of action, i would like to see this become an open issue for the campaign. i think it is time to cut through all of the disinformation and move to get everybody ahead behind some solutions. and there is nobody better than obama to try to state the case for that. host: maryland's, democratic caller -- marilyn, democratic caller from ohio. caller: john boehner's district. he is one of our problems. it does not want to do anything accept defeat obama. i voted for hillary clinton in
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the ohio primary four years ago. obama was an elected. i have become an ardent supporter of his. the economy was dying four years ago. lost lots of money in the stock market. now the stock prices are doubled. he got bin laden. we were brought down in that horrible war in iraq. and he took out bin laden. what do the american people want? this man is levelheaded, he is a family man, he has been good for the economy. he has been good for foreign- policy. what did the american people want? he has been a good president. host: sacramento, california, richard. good morning. caller: hello?
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host: you are on the program. caller: i have been kind of in the background. i have been able to see what is going on with me alone and not a -- illuminati is concerned, he has taken people from berkeley and seeing people -- a limited knowledge. i cover everything all the time. i work about 20 hours a day. we are up $200 billion in trade and we were at a deficit. when you look at what the american technologies are, i have seen a lot of americans in our industries of energy, transit, housing, infrastructure industries, bigger industries in california, if you take alternative fuels, 20% or 30% of fuel and the world for emissions, 2% our trucks. -- trucks but now that the
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growing pains have cured of themselves i am jumping in the game. i am a statistician. host: what does that mean? caller: i have the people with the solutions. i have been working on this for many years. all the energy, transit, and housing alternatives. i am on top of this thing so you cannot touch anything -- host: let us go to anthony. what do you think about president obama's reelection effort? are you in disaster? caller: yes, i am. i will be working for the election. i am excited about the example it will send around the world. i am excited about the push back against the republican party and letting history read the books
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-- right the books. yes, i will be working for the reelection of barack obama. host: on twitter -- of our callers earlier this morning. let's hear from reince priebus, rnc chairman, i guess on "meet the press" yesterday talking about president obama's track record. >> what this race will come down to is a couple of things -- one, the president made some promises. pretty big promises. he made promises regarding the debt, which he did not fulfill their promises regarding the deficit. he said he will cut in half by the end of his first term. what did you do? he passed or put forward the big structural deficit in the history of america. here is to your point -- what i think is going to be the bigger problem for this president -- people in this country don't think this 10 -- president is really more, not genuine
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anymore. he came across this country as a candid it off and he promised to be the great unites her, he was going to be different, he was going to bring everything together. he was going to listen to the debt commission. remember that? now he is going out around america, as the great divider. its co-chairmen of the republican national committee -- host: that was the chairman of the republican national committee. let's hear what nicklaus has to say. caller: with regards to mr obama's reelection campaign, i am not very enthusiastic. since he has been inaugurated, i have become very dissatisfied because, first of all, he ran on a peace platform and said we would not be getting involved in any of these nation-building, not getting involved in it
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anymore war is essentially and what we have seen in his term so far is that we have get more involved. a troop expansion, etc.. what i am doing actually now, giving my support to the republican candidate ron paul who is actually a true pro-peace candidate. for the presidency. i hope other democrats can hop on board because he is the only true peace candidates, not taking orders from aipac or and other lobbying groups. host: on twitter, angela wright to -- let's go to hawaii, kathy,
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democrats' line. caller: i am definitely enthusiastic. you can parse some of the things you wish had been done better, but the republicans, the only thing they were united on was getting in trouble basically. i think he will be reelected. i think that is a pretty strong probability. i think part of the reasons the republicans are in such disarray, the stronger candidates waiting for 2016 because they did not believe he is that vulnerable and i don't think he is. host: let us look at a story from "christian science monitor."
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here is the breakout -- mary is joining us from illinois. where you calling us from? caller: waukegan. good morning. let's not forget the elephant in the room. we know the reason they are giving the president such a hard time, and they keep denying that that is the reason. host: what i am asking you, mary, about your level of enthusiasm. caller: it is great. i love it president obama dan and the guy from maryland, he was a republican, so we will not to listen. host: we did not know -- we can only take him at his word. but how disaster are you?
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caller: i am very enthusiastic. before when i worked for the president. and i will do it again. we cannot have newt gingrich. what he said about african- american children should abeyant -- the custodians and mop floors, who would want a president like that? as far as the pennsylvania, the white caller, they call it bluecollar but they say it is really the white collar, people, they do racism. it is all about racism. we know that. host: talking about newt gingrich, talking about his proposal to have working class kids or kids who do not have experience in the work force taejon's as janitors and things like that? caller: my parents were poor and my father and mother worked. he needs to stop making statements like that. thank you. host: let's go to california. another married. good morning. caller: good morning.
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i would like to say i am in full support of president obama. and i am a white woman in her 70's 0 has been seriously injured -- who has been seriously injured by this recession and i do not believe it is his fault. has he been purpose? no, he is not. nor did i hicks -- expected to be. host: look at some of the political stories related to the 2012 presidential race. "politico" is reporting cain will endorse newt gingrich today. looking at some other news, "the
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washington times" has a story -- "the wall street journal" is looking at the race for the republican presidential nominee by saying -- you can see some images here of those gentlemen on the campaign trail. mitt romney, shown campaigning in manchester, new hampshire, and newt gingrich and a weekend town meeting in new york. augusta, georgia. cj joins us.
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what is your level of enthusiasm? caller: not nearly as high this time as it was at a previous election. but i will vote for him. i am not altogether happy with some of the things that has happened, especially his inability to stand up to the republicans. i am not going to vote for a republican, so, i will vote for the president again, although my enthusiasm is not nearly at the level it was in 2008. but as i said, i am not going to vote for a republican and iowa -- i am a 76-year-old white person. i have retired with the 23 years in the military and 100% disabled, but i will vote for barack obama. host: a range of opinions,
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janelle -- liz weighs in on twitter -- charlotte, north carolina. marcus. caller: i am very excited about him. i am enthusiastic to vote for him again. you can't do everything exactly i want him to do. i know he can only do so much as president. he needs a counterpart -- he needs republicans -- they have to want to coalesce around him but they did not hit -- given a chance from the start. as president, he cannot change the world on a dime like some people would like. he just does not have that
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power. people have to understand you just have to vote for who is fighting for you. when it comes down to that, it is clear cut. that is all i wanted to say. host: let us look at all of the stories in the news. "the wall street journal" headline -- looking at another story on the international scene from "the wall street journal" -- vice-president biden is an absence, saying the time is short to resolve the crisis.
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he warned that time is running out the european leaders to reach a solution, but expressed confidence that a sense of urgency will force them into one. also, global carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 showed the biggest jump recorded. that story by justin gillis. then iran mcclain declaim it down the a u.s. drone.
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our question for you this morning, specifically geared toward democrats, what is your level of a busy as an over the president's reelection efforts compared to 2008? caller: i am enthusiastic only because the options on the republican party are pretty dismal. but i would think if you fall on c-span could take one day a week and highlight some of the positive stuff that goes on under this administration, maybe you would really inform your viewers. this president is a war president the same way george bush was and he has been systematically trying to work at the economy, herd cats, as well as getting us safely out of iraq and afghanistan and he is getting little credit from c- span. newt gingrich is interesting because he used c-span back in
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the early days to preach to an empty room and he got national recognition for giving a speech to nobody. but because he was a great orator, c-span elevated him to an incredible position. this president, i thing once he starts campaigning and we see what he has been doing, it would -- it will make a difference. i would like you to ask any presidential candidate, if you were the nominee and were elected, if the democrats banded together and oppose everything you say or to, like the republicans have done to obama, what would you actually be able to do? what would you do if the entire opposition party digging their heels in and says, no. we never had a congress to try to destroy an american president. it is absolutely appalling. unfortunately, they get plenty of time on c-span to trash this man day after day after day. but i think obama will get reelected. our economy is picking up and
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things will get much better. but please ask some real questions about the republicans because they claim they will get in there and make things happen. how did they do that if they did not get any support? obama plan to do everything to and republicans have fought him every inch. host: we welcome all types of opinions and we try to have as much balance as we can. let's hear from scott in hanover, pennsylvania. what do you think about president obama's reelection efforts? caller: very enthusiastic at the very beginning. i do agree with the woman a little bit, the previous caller , that there is a law -- between the democrats and republicans, just too much fighting. i do disagree that there is not a blockage from democrats and republicans, both sides do it to
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each other. i just wish they could just get along, work things out of the country. that is where it -- that is why we put them in a position. i just feel if they can't work together, how can this country come out of what is going through, what is going on right now in the country? i just disagree with obama on a lot of things now because he promised a lot of things, just like most candidates do. but i am just not sure this time. host: what is it going to take this way you one way or the other? caller i am just -- i am not sure this time. i really have to sit down and think about it. i am not positive which one i want to vote for this time. host: good morning. caller: how are you? i actually supported hillary in 2008 because i thought she had
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experience as both a center and when her husband was in the white house -- senator, and when her husband was in the white house, to be a good president. but her policies and obama's policies are not dissimilar and i think his enthusiasm and idealism won him over and helped him win the election altogether. a the is not like other presidents in the past. -- he is not like other presidents in the past. he had a lot of challenges and i think some of the lack of experience has caused some of the eggs i-80 -- anxiety that we had. but he is very intelligent and gaining experience. i think he is actually growing in the job and improving para and i think his best days are in the next five years actually. and i think he is going to be a very good president for the united states and the ranks as one of the top ones in probably
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this century. host: can i interrupt you? can i ask you this? do you think he will get more done in the second term than in the first term, and if that is your opinion, why do you dig it is the case? caller: am i more enthusiastic? host: do you think he can get more done in his second tour -- second term? caller: i actually do. because i think wanted the election has occurred and he is reelected, that there is going to be some realism that goes back into the congress that he is there for four more years, and it is not a matter of preventing him from being reelected, that the work has got to be done and it will buckle down and get to work. host: baltimore, maryland. caller: you know, i am 100%
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behind barack obama. and you know what? i just wanted to say that all of the democrat callers who have been called up, they have a lot of information. it is not like when the republicans call. we have a lot of information. you can just tell. but i am from baltimore, but during the re-election i will be going out to pennsylvania to push obama over the line. can i just say one thing? is that -- if obama was doing such a bad job, why are they trying to suppress the vote? why don't they just let people vote him out if he is doing such a bad job, you know? obama is a barman. -- is the man. some of us democrats have to
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take the blame not showing up at the polls in 2010. host: asking democrats how enthusiastic are you about president obama view reelection efforts? is he on the right course of launching his bid for reelection, doing some campaigning. starting to roll out ads and members of this team, both former and current, going on sunday talk shows and promoting the present. we heard from david axelrod yesterday on "need the press." let's hear what he had to say. >> there is no doubt the economy needs to pick up. we made some progress. we need to make a lot more. but an even larger question is how we restore the economic security middle-class americans have lost, not just over the last three years but over a long period of time. that is a lot of what this election will be about. as we heard from the republican candidates -- not a plan for that. they want to continue to give
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tax cuts and a very wealthy. they think we roll back the rules on wall street and wall street right its own rules, that will accelerate the economy and prompted everyday americans. that is not a prescription for middle-class security. the president has said. it goes to education. advanced manufacturing jobs for the future. it goes to making smart investments that will give people better opportunities. so, we need a plan and a vision that has at its core of the welfare and the chances of the middle class in this country. host: david axelrod speaking on "meet the press." 8 viewer weighs in on twitter --
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sam is an olympia, washington. caller: i would just start by saying in 2004 i supported political and because i thought she was a stronger leader and she would fight harder for less than obama has. that being said, i believe that a democrat on his worst day is better than any republican on their best day and it is imperative that we have a president who is going to put a balanced mind on the supreme court. the fellow that was put in there should not be there. they have failed as judges. in any event, i will support obama and i am very confident he will win. host: how strong is your level of enthusiasm? are you going to get involved in the campaign? talk to friends and neighbors? caller: i will support obama with people i talk to about the election.
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if hillary clinton was in the primaries, i would still vote for her, but that is not going to happen so i've got to support obama with all of my energies and resources because we just cannot have a republican in the white house. i am a little sad that obama does not have a good coat tails. that will make a senate and house campaign very crucial, and we have to work very hard, each and every one of us, have to work hard to get the blue dog democrats and republicans out of the congress because they are not for america, they are for themselves. host: our focus this morning is on president obama's reelection bid and what is your level of enthusiasm as a democrat is. let us look at what dwight had to say on facebook --
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coming to us from our facebook page. you can look for c-span and join the conversation. frank is from fort lauderdale, florida. caller: i write a book reviews for an on-line publication. i go to some shows in washington, d.c., to see what different authors think about different issues. the general feeling i get is that barack obama is pretty far to the left compared to, say, harry truman. that has been a book that came out about george tenet -- i think on foreign policy, the democrats have drifted, like i said, pretty far to the left. i did not want to repeat myself. host: what does it mean to you when it comes to the level of a busy as some about president
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obama's re-election bid? caller: as far as democrats that i like right now, my favorite in the party is probably jim webb, senator from virginia, he helped secure veterans benefits quite a bit. clare mccaskill, a number of other different people. i think i would like to see obama probably move in the direction of the more moderate democrats. i think that would be my best answer to that particular question. host: let's look -- answered, thank you, daryl. let us look at what's aaron says on facebook -- let's hear what a viewer from new jersey has to say.
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horace, good morning. caller: how are you doing? i would like to congratulate you for your very informed and this -- a former to show. i am very enthusiastic about president obama. this is the only present and we have ever had that only had -- president we ever had that only had a last name and ever-present to most people. that i don't understand. black voters -- is not in there for civil rights purposes, but he is there for the presidential candidate of the united states. he works very hard to try to keep things on a balance. he don't try to focus on self, but on other people. i am a disabled american vet and one of the primary things he talked about when he talks about budget cuts and all of that, first of all, protecting the american veteran. second of all, social security.
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and every american is going to get older. and for those -- a guy like newt gingrich, a self-made millionaire, self-centered die, and he wants the benefits strictly for himself. president obama to be given a chance and getting the cooperation, would be one of the best presidents we have had since president clinton. and i think everyone should look at the real focus, and stop looking a prejudice. host: a couple of other stories in the news. afghanistan's as it will need international aid until 2025 -- afghanistan says it will need international aid until 2025. president obama has deliver condolences over the deaths in pakistan. he phoned the president of pakistan to offer condolences for the death of to but -- tons -- two dozen soldiers.
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this a story about the kennedy center, honoring five virtuosos. the new york times reports that honors were given to a variety of artists, including cellist yo yo ma, and a couple of other singers. they received the 34th annual honors for lifetime achievement in the performing arts. coming up on "washington journal," we will talk about deficit reduction.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> it is so convenient to listen to c-span anytime anywhere, but the free c-span radio app, streaming audio of c-span radio and all free telephone -- television networks and also listen to our interview programs. c-span, it is available wherever you are. find out more at c-span.org /radioapp. >> tonight on "the communicators" we look at
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federal spectrum policy with it a gas from the commerce department spectrum advisory committee, discussing the choices faced by broadcasters, telecoms, congress, the president, and the fcc. at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> television can be a teacher. if we are going to be having a debate on television in a court room and you drew the affirmative side, you could make probably more positive points. >> tuesday the senate judiciary subcommittee speeds -- talks about television in the supreme court. our special web pages devoted to cameras in the court. see articles and editorials across the country, public opinion polls, and what the justices have said. and you will also find a link of the you to play list with videos of justices and members of congress -- congress talking about cameras in court. >> a dollar an hour for labor,
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no health care, no environmental controls, no pollution controls, and no retirement, and you don't care about anything but making money, there would be a giant sucking sound going south. >> ross perot spoke about trade issues in the 1992 presidential debate. the billionaire businessman made two attempts for presidency -- the first time getting more than 19 million votes, more popular votes than any third-party candidate in history. although he lost, he has had a lasting influence on politics. he is our final on "the contenders." to preview of their video and see other from our series, go to c-span.org/thecontenders. host: maya mcginnis is from the committee for responsible federal government.
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are you concerned that the super committee that a failure will stall any progress coming up with a solution to the death of a problem? guest: i am disappointed that the super committee failed because it was a copper tended to do what we all know we have to do, which is to put together a plan to deal with the deficit and debt. by not being able to come to an agreement -- it is not surprising, it is a really hard task, finding savings of trillions of dollars is very difficult politically. but the fact they've won not able to, 1, leaves us more vulnerable to market being concerned about our ability to put into place a reasonable plan and bring debt levels now, and, two, concerns about our political ability to come together and do hard things. if you think about how we got here, 10 years of doing tax cuts and spending increases. we know how to do that. but in a highly partisan environment, coming together and making the the policy choices, a
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lot of concern we are not on track to get the things done we need to get done. host: we are looking at the presidential election in 2012 coming up in november, and all of the house seats are up, and senate seats in charge to states are up. do you see a deadline, that if we did not get it done in a certain time frame leading to a president's election, it would get too close? guest: the conventional wisdom is you cannot do hard things in election years. i think there is an open and honest need to make the tough choices. what we will see in the coming years are so many reminders this is inevitable. just like what is going on in europe, the whole discussion, we all know, is because they were not able to get ahead of the problem and the market is pushing tough choices. but beyond that, i think we will of constant reminders when the congressional budget office puts out its projection or the president has to submit a new budget. each and every one of those that
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happens will be a reminder that we have debt levels we cannot handle, and that leaves us very vulnerable to mark a turning against us and harming the economy at a time when we are trying to get out of recession, and that these choices are the same -- we can wait them -- make and now, or make them later when it is more difficult. there will be regular and constant reminders we have to do a budget deal at some of the, and even though the conventional wisdom is in an election year it is difficult, i think there are many members of congress that are kind of sick and tired of not fixing it. they all did come here actually to fix the problem. they have very different opinions about what the government should look like, but i do not think there are many people now who say we do not have to do something about deficit and debt. we see a growing interest in a bipartisan or even bicameral way the wind howled -- between house and senate to put together some kind of compromise plan. do i think it is a done deal? absolutely not. but i think there is a good
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chance. and i know that people say both parties sort of listen to politicians or been political a device that says wait until but after the election, it will not get any easier. in fact, it would be more the call if you have one party with more power having to make the tough choices without a bipartisan cover that makes it doable. i do not think there is a single argument for waiting other than political and willingness to face up to what we have to do. host: president of the committee for a response the federal government and serbs as fiscal policy program director at the new american foundations. here are the numbers to call -- you were involved with the super committee. what was your role? guest: not involved with the super committee actually, but while was doing its work i run a non-partisan budget group of we were trying to encourage the to go big, if you will.
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the super committee was passed with finding up to $1.50 trillion of savings in -- that was a reflection how much we had to lift the debt ceiling. the concern our organization and many others had was even if you save that much, it is not nearly enough to get on top of the problem. you need savings two to three times of that to stabilize the debt, so it is not growing faster than the economy. you can think about your credit card bills not growing faster than your income. we urge them to come up with a big deal because both economically it is necessary, but additionally, politically, it actually seems easier in that it is very devil called for democrats, not going to say we are doing another bill that is all spending cuts, and republicans are not willing to talk about new revenues unless it is tied to a significant entitlement for it -- reform. putting everything on the table and fits in the problem as much
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as possible as more likely to succeed then these in for mental changes. we urge them to go big. i think they gave it a shot. i think a lot of wanted to. i think we continue to pursue that, to put in place a real deal, we have more chance of succeeding rather than doing it in small difficult bites that steal the headlines and the next day this huge debt problem remains. host: let us get to the phones. tennessee. independent line. welcome. caller: yes, i think they should cut back on the foreign spending. not only that, the whistle spending they do, nascar, drag racing, and given to the poor people like me. i draw $1,000 a month. by the time i pay my bills, i may have to hundred dollars or $300 left to live on the month. i just cannot think it is right. thank you. host: thank you for your call.
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let me just part by a little bit of -- guest: let me start with the myth busting. but cutting back on legitimate aid, it is legitimate -- but we spend a tiny fraction of our budget on foreign aid. generally no more than 2%, less than that right now, i believe. there is a sense out there that if we just get rid of some of the things easy to argue against -- foreign aid, targeted tax break, some that sound absurd, like for jets or nascar, we could fix the budget. it was bought by saying we need to go through every part of the budget. we have to save money. it will take looking at every little piece of the budget. but the things you talked about right there do not come close to fixing the budget. the biggest programs we have our spending on defense, social security, health care. they are not the little ones that are easy for politicians to say we want to get rid of those. there are fundamental pieces of
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government. what we need to bid -- due in addition to going line by line to figure of what is working and what is not and what our priorities are is a we need to deal with some of the core questions, do we want to pay for, you know, 20% of the budget on health care, 25% on rick cupp -- retirement? how do want to allocate? after would make the decisions, how are willing to buy for them? we need to raise more revenues. if you don't want to, you have to cut more spending. the bottom line is that a foreign aid is a very, very small piece of the budget. we will have to look of the big budget items to get a handle on this issue which and. host: along these lines, joseph asks on twitter -- can you break it down for us a little bit more, and non- discretionary spending? for guest: so many things played into it. what happened was the deficit, we were running a deficit when the economy was strong. normally what you want to do is bring your budget into surplus
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when the economy is strong and save money, so when you are in recession like we were, the big deficits can actually help kind of moderate the effects of the recession. what we do is we run deficits when the economy is strong and then a really big deficits when the economy is weak. we were running deficits going into the downturn, and that came from many things. the war spending, prescription drug plan we put in place without paying for, and the multiple rounds of tax cuts we put in place. we cut taxes, we spent lots of money, and the notion of paying for it was kind of put aside for quite some time. then with the economic downturn, we really got hurt badly, and that was the result of the decline in revenues and additional spending we had in a recession and also the measures we took to help combat the recession. and then after that we knew we were going to be hit by the aging of the population, growing health-care costs, all the things politicians knew were out there but very difficult to change so they put them off.
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we know we need to fix social security, but it is tough politically, so let's maybe talk about next year. now we are being had by all of these things at once. lots of the legitimate to the deficit -- not paying for the wars, multiple rounds of tax cuts extended, the growing cost of health care in our budget, social security growing faster than other parts of the budget. so, what has not contributed to probably it -- is probably a better question because really it has been kind of a case of having it all and not paying for it and not dealing with what a budget is which is trade off -- if it is worth doing is worth paying for and we have not abide by this principle and that is how we got ourselves in this huge hole and it looks at -- takes looking at the entire budget to fix it. host: this comes from "the washington post." we see the increases in the national debt, the red line is the debt ceiling. in the year 2000, and then $6 trillion by 2010 and then look
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at the projected numbers, all the way above $20 trillion. guest: that is the real problem because right now if you look at the debt levels, there is research that seems to indicate it is already a drag on the economy. if you are particularly if you spend on investments, it is a good thing to do. we borrow all this money to consume. with these high debt levels -- we are on track to add $10 trillion if we're not careful. that can put this in -- that can harm the economy. things get increasingly bleak because of the automatic growth in the budget and the
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unwillingness to put in place the changes to deal with it. host: steven from houston on the republican line. caller: good morning. i'm curious. the people who created the problem. these people through social programs and maintained their power by keeping people on the public dole and destroying the american concept as it was once known. you just had a whole section of people supporting barack obama. i would like to know how many people are on the public dole. guest: i will take the question about how easy you can expect to people who created the problem
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to solve it. it is an interesting question. look at what europe is trying to figure out what to do. in some ways they are saying that the country's need to we themselves closely together. we have the knowledge in the u.s. that politicians have not been very good at solving the problem. so we say, let's outsource this to a committee. the commission came up with the perfect road map to get us started to fix this problem. this is a shame we have not move further along and hopefully we can get some of those changes in place. with the super committee, the normal process is not working to fix these things. so how can we move these along?
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tax cuts, spending increases. part of the responsibility falls back on us. we need to say that if you want to spend more, how are you going to pay for it? overall, i don't think there should be a single politician running for president who does not have a plan that they lay out for the american people. i think $4 trillion is the minimum. we have a responsibility to say we will support people to make those tough choices. "i cannot believe you are going to touch that program." we're not going to come to a solution. politicians need to work
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together. it is important to do this in a bipartisan way. they will be clobbered by ads. bipartisanship is critical. support for the tough choices is also critical. so far it is easier to create the problem and politicians solving the problem have not gone attraction. host: we have an e-mail. guest: yeah. that is right. there's a lot of built-in growth into the budget. entitlements or mandatory spending. they grow faster than the economy.
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if you bring the spending down, that is poincoined a cut. we think of cutting in our own households and this cutting is not true. there is a huge divide on both sides over this. i think that is part of the frustration over this. this leaves you and -- spending has been growing as a share of the economy. there has been the downturn of the economy. on the growth from health care and other parts of the budget. we need to decide whether we want to pay for those programs if the government is going to grow. there are things that we should
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cut and eliminate. that goes back to the notion of going through the budget line by line. senator tom coburn has gone to the budget and said, this is a program that we do not need. that exercise is going to have to be part of this. it comes down to these court bigger problems of the health care reform -- retirement entitlements. there is $1 trillion a year in revenue that we lose because of targeted tax breaks. health-care exclusion. we need to look at that in detail. host: maya macguineas is the president for committee for a responsible federal budget. she has worked at the brookings
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institution. she works with members of congress on issues ranging from health, the economy, taxes, and budget policy. chicago, illinois, carl. caller: i take issue with some of your initial comments. a lot of your comments is about spending. we have the plan in 2000 that was working. it was working to pay down the debt. i will concede that health care will grow because we have a health care system based on for- profit. this country is the wealthiest
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country in the world. we can afford health care. ok? [inaudible] this issue of spending -- when the recession took place, that cost a loss of trillions of dollars to our economy. guest: it pains me to remember -- we made some of the tough budget choices and they were no nearly as big as the charges we are faced with today. we had a budget surplus and we were on track to prepare for some of these big choices that we're facing. it is a huge shame that we made a policy choices that squandered
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those surpluses. spending was quite high during that time as well. put aside money to help pay for the aging of the baby boomers and the growing health care cost. that was short-sighted. government is shortsighted. immediate gratification tends to pay off. rarely to we think about what we need to be doing longer term. fiscal responsibility. that is why i think the budget is upside down. i agree with you that we were on track back then. spending is on track to be much higher than historical averages. saying that the
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government should grow or should not grow. there is no right answer there. health-care costs are growing. we have new innovations that we all want. we probably -- the government will grow. spending has grown all along. i do not think we should have cut taxes. we should think about how to get revenues back higher up now. we should grow revenues by reforming the tax code. you can take some of those savings. i think that is the right policy. spending has been growing and is projected to grow higher than historical averages.
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i think they should grow farther. we should do it in a way that is good for the economy. host: "the new york times" has this image. we can see the image of projected spending. get any morees not problematic than that. it is difficult because something like social security, we know how to fix the problem. we know which levers there are. we know how to fix it. when it comes to health care, we don't have all the answers. there probably will be a multiple rounds of health care reform. we know we need some structural
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changes to keep health care spending within the budget. there are big differences on the right and left on how we can meet the budget. there was a huge political standoff. if we do not fix health care, nothing else will fix the problem. we to look at health care as a whole part of the economy when we're thinking about these reforms. host: you mentioned social security. guest: ah. this is the toughest one to talk about because i know people feel strongly about this. we built in a principal -- put some money aside because we knew that the baby boom generation would be very large and would
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need more money in the out years then a social security has been paying out in the past. the way to save money did not prove effective. the money is legally all there. you put a dollar in the trust fund and the dollar purchases a government treasury. it goes for things like defense, education. the money gets put to other uses and there still is the obligation to repay the social security trust fund. we have some difficult choices. there is a lot of money owed to the social security trust fund. social security has a unique claim on resources in the future. we need to look at that carefully.
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the people collecting benefits down the road or the same people who had lower taxes in the past decades. we will have to figure this out. this is a tough issue. people think that they put money into social security and they should get it out. that is true. it was paid out in other forms of the government. the mechanism did not end up effective. host: our guest is maya macguineas, president of the committee for a responsible federal budget. she wrote, "the debt is a quiet cancer on the economy."
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let's go to edward. caller: a person on disability -- all the red tape a person has to go through. how does that fall into a person trying to get this, the red tape and all that? guest: disability trust fund will run out of assets in just a couple of years. we need to be making reforms to social security as quickly as possible. waited until the last minute to put these changes in place is bad policy -- waiting until the last minute is bad policy. in terms of the bureaucracy, that is not part of the program designed. there are a lot of parts processing and trying to
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individualize the program. this is one of the realities of big programs. this is something people need critically. we need to be considering reforms because of the quality of the program. it will be difficult to do all the things the government needs to do because there will be this ongoing fiscal pressure. if we use that pressure, like if we had a tight budgets. if we use that pressure to think about how we can improve the quality of what we're getting, to make sure we're using our dollars on the best programs and reforming these programs in a way that is as effective as possible. this may be what we're going to
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go through and it will be tough but it may be an opportunity to think about how we do things in government and giving some useful makeovers to improve quality. host: we have a couple of e- mails. host: joy identifies where we are in terms of the debt. guest: those are great questions. i completely agree. we will fix the problem by looking at every part of the budget. not reducing the debt for the sake of it.
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to grow the economy, we need to bring our debt levels doubt and to prioritize things so that we are spending and taxing in a way that promotes growth. that means protecting the public's investments and targeting our budget. it means low revenues. we cannot close this gap on one side of the revenue alone. we need to bring up marginal tax rates. or you could bring rates down but get rid of these trillion dollars in taxes we have a year. i think go big also means go big -- go smart and go long. think about the long term of tax
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on these programs. host: does washington have the will to do that? guest: there are an amazing group of policy makers, and together and working so hard on this issue. this is giving me hope in washington. i am a native washingtonian. it just feels broken. there are members who are changing that and working hard. those are the gang of six and putting that into a real plan. that has expanded to 45 members to come up with a plan. a lot of people want to solve these problems. a lot of them are willing to cross the aisle. i might be conservative or
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progressive, but i know that this budget that reflects only my bias is not going to pass. seeing that has encouraged me. i do think there are people that are whispering and saying, it will be better if you wait until after the election. to not worry about delaying -- laying.worry about dea the laying -- delaying is a huge risk. i think the majority of people have come to except that this problem is huge. they might have an idea on how
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to fix that but this is not an exaggeration to say we will tank the country if we fail to do something about our deficit and debt in a timely manner. coming up been $4 trillion in savings is tough. there are so many members on the hill who are focused on this. this is on the national agenda now. it is not going away. it will be here to stay until we, but some kind of a fix. i think there is something we will come up in the coming months. host: lynne in kabul,
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colorado -- pueblo. caller: i do have to confess i am a registered republican and i have been devoting a democrat for the past few years. i was wondering what you think about a tax on financial transactions. there is there reason you cannot pay a small transaction fee because people already pay their brokers. maybe that could be put towards reducing the deficit. i resent the term "entitlement." it makes us feel like we're all on welfare. i can see why people are upset about that. i know that we cannot cut enough without revenues, to offset all
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this. it seems to get lost in the conversation because of grover norquist. escape thisl never man until the next election. i would like to know more about who backs organization. guest: thank you for all your questions. this is a non partisan think tank that began in little over a decade ago. i think it is a neat think-tank. it is politically independent. we have republicans, democrats, and independents working there. it was all about bringing younger people into the policy of discourse. oftentimes you would stay there foron one year and go and do
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something else. it was so interesting to work there. it brings a lot of journalists in. i'm not a journalist. they work on policy issues and then go back out. it helps to write about these in a more popular press. it is funded by the major foundations. no partisan agenda there. there's a lot of incredible work coming out of there. i don't think the transaction
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tax is the right way to go. the arguments against it have always been, it would slow down how quickly we can make trade. that may not sound like such a bad thing after the big crisis which just went through. most of the people who will be taxed will be the those saving in their pension funds and this would increase the cost of saving that way. it is not a preferred tax. it reflect a growing sense of an ease in this country. itsure that aunease -- reflects a growing sense or unease in this country. this is an important issue. we need to think of awfully
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about how we make sure we're growing the economy and making sure that growth is spread throughout the economy. that comes from a lot of things. i believe in not spending money on people who do not need it. but also regulatory changes. there has to be a policy innovations in the coming years. i hope we can come up with ways to talk about this that is not as heated. we want to find ones that are pro-growth. "entitlements" is just a word. it doesn't go through the normal process of the discretionary part of the budget.
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if you meet the criteria for that program, you get the benefit. a misconception, people believed they are just getting back out what they paid in. if that were the case, the programs would be a much sounder footing. people have ended up getting much more out of the program than they ever paid in. benefits were growing much faster than the tax contributions. with the baby boom peeking out, that burden of paying -- there were promises that grow much faster. we will have to rethink how to make that affordable. it does not leave money for the necessary public investments
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that we need to have. very challenging. host: we have a comment on twitter. my guest has written about her interpretation about what is going on and she is encouraging congress to go big and find a solution. it talks about a debt deal that would save $4 trillion. guest: this is hard. you have to do this because bad things will happen. this is a path to prosperity, a path to economic growth. it is heart to see it will drive the recovery -- it is hard to say. the government has been borrowing for too long.
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one of the advantages of putting now -- it is wiset deal to not take the stimulus out of the economy. this can help businesses invest more. we can have an investment recovery, which is the best hope for a sustained economic recovery. i think the path to economic recovery comes from putting in the deal. we've seen the crisis in europe. right now the rates are low. people look at the u.s. and think, great investment place.
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they are on track. we will put our money there. putting in place -- this keeps debt crisis from occurring. we have been under investing for quite some time. we need to pivot our budget away to these longer-term investments. nothing focuses the mind like this kind of emergency. not a good situation in which to be. we should think about putting in place a budget that works for the modern economy. we know we will not have a thriving economy unless we have a debt deal.
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you read this from the chairman of the fed and the head of the imf. everyone says the solution is a multi-year plan. to not derail the recovery -- do not derail the economy. what stance in the way is the political challenges in getting there. hopefully we can get to work. host: maya macguineas. thank you so much for being here. we will come back and look at state budgets. >> 8:31 eastern. donald trump says mitt romney does not get detraction he needs
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to know about the republican presidential nomination. accusations he flip flops on issues are absurd. he said if he is not satisfied the gop is putting up a viable candidate, he would consider running himself. he is said to moderate a debate on december 28. changes coming to the u.s. postal service. details to be released this morning. an estimated $3 billion in cuts that could curb fast delivery of first-class mail. the post office faces default on a payment to the treasury department. french president nicolas sarkozy and angela merkel our meeting in paris at this hour trying to agree on a plan to tighten economic cooperation among the 17 european union countries that use the euro.
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financial markets are signaling optimism that they will succeed. those are some the latest headlines on c-span radio. listen so convenient to to c-span anytime, anywhere with the free c-span radio app. you get streaming audio of c- span radio as well as all three c-span television networks 24/7. you can also listen to our interview programs, including "q&a," "newsmakers," "the communicators," and "after words." c-span -- it's available wherever you are. find out more at c-span.org/radioapp. >> tonight on "the communicators," a look at federal spectrum policy with dale hatfield of the commerce department's spectrum management advisory committee. he'll discuss the choices facing by broadcasters, telecoms, congress, the president, and the fcc. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> "washington journal"
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continues. host: barry anderson is the deputy director a national governors association of the. -- of the national governors association. we have some special phone lines set up -- host: barry anderson, there is a new fiscal survey of the states. what is the headline/ guest: it is the big squeeze. states are doing better than the have in the past. they are not bad to the2008 le 2008 level. the grants that the states are
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going to be cut for sure. the 2012 levels already going down. the sequester they are facing are likely to cut them even further. the amounts of money that are coming in from the feds are almost certainly going to be lower than they are today. medicaid continues to go up because the economy has been poor and because of new entitlements and because the requirements of the affordable care act. the costs for medicaid still has on a per capita basis increase. maybe because control that the government has put it will work. they have not started to work yet. it is not over. from the local government, they are asking for more and more as
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they are being cut. states have had an opportunity to rationalized the amounts of money they have been given to the local governments. but now they are being squeezed from the federal government and the local government. on top of this, it is the economy that matters. if the economy improves, things might be better. as maya macguineas was saying, the direction of the economy is uncertain. host: our guest barry anderson is with the national governors association. guest: and there is not any
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forecast that is going to get better. the cost of health care in this country is continuing to grow. the affordable care act did take some actions and maybe some of those actions might have some benefits. that is in the future. it is not going to be this year. the concerns about medicaid door those others. medicaid is the biggest element of the states. host: where the signs of improvement? guest: the economy is doing better than a was at the depths of the recession. revenue has increased. there have been some temporary
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taxes that states have put in place that will expire in the future. still, revenue will grow. i think states to take a job on average of controlling their spending. they look at the items they could control. even medicaid, to some extent. states are primarily concerned with medicaid and also with correction expenses, with transportation expenses, with education expenses, and states did get a better handle on their spending over the last two or three years. it is a good trend. some improvement on revenues and better control of spending. host: this is spending in billions of dollars on this chart. the balance -- look at 2011,
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they are about evenly paced. guest: we are not back to the 2008 levels. it is still relatively low. it is a tough side and a sign that states have done a bit better -- a much better job of controlling their spending. host: we see a creeping in balance in 2012. guest: the picture right now is better than it was in the last year or two. the concern is from the economy that things might not be improving that much. host: len from wisconsin. caller: good morning. a bit of a dilemma and some of
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the political actions of the american legislative exchange council. i am a resident in wisconsin. do the other states -- through the other states, there was a republican governor in the state. the actions in wisconsin, michigan, i'm wondering if you alec hasment whatale done in relation to how things are done. it seems there were severe actions in wisconsin where they are going through a recall. from your position of looking at all the states, what comment you might make in that regard and what it has to do with the fiscal responsibilities that
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have come out of alec. response fromt a our guest. guest: i am not aware specifically of what alec has recommended. one of the major expenditures of all states is the employees. every state has been looking at the type of compensation and the number of employees and other conditions at work. it is a difficult situation for states. whether the governor is one side or the other, they did not want to cut employees or their compensation, but they are faced with the fiscal squeeze. some states have been more successful than the ones you mentioned.
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some have had more success at it than others. this is similar to what we're seeing here in washington with the federal government. the cost of government employment is a major fact. what we're seeing is an effort over and over again to try to look and see if we can get a better picture on this. host: what are the political implications of what has happened in wisconsin? will this make it harder for governors to try to change the way that the public sector employees are dealt with? guest: i look at this as a negotiation, if you will. every state doesn't have the same level.
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governor walker may have pushed too far. the recall vote is an indication of that. if you look at the kind of changes that are made in states outside of wisconsin, you will see almost every state is doing something along these lines. it is not going to be easy. the trend is pretty clear. there has to be a better reform of compensation for state employees. of news this a lot past couple of days on the drop of the unemployment rate. there was an increase in employment if you look behind these numbers of nearly 120,000. there was a drop in government
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employment by 20,000. the states are still in a rationalization of looking how to get more value for their state dollar and how to have a better compensation package for their state employees. it is a difficult assignment. the states are making progress on it. host: lee from eugene, oregon. caller: i would like to know the fiscal sanity -- our government tends to talk in platitudes and never give any reality, then the newspaper comes in and says the opposite on our budget here in oregon. more than that, i'm on disability. i get medicaid assistance.
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the reason i'm on the system is because i was a guinea pig for the pharmaceutical companies in which they cite a contract with me that they would pay if anything happened to me. well, things happened to me and our live with what is termed it pharmaceutical dementia. what are the pharmaceutical companies not being directly build for all these costs -- not been directly billed? they get to write it off because of the loopholes. guest: i like the term "fiscal sanity." i didn't memorize the survey from all 50 states. my recollection is that oregon is doing ok. i like to think back in 1992 in
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the presidential election when at that time governor clinton used the term, "it is the economy, stupid." a lot of what matters for oregon and other states is how well the economy is growing and what they can do to manage the amount of money they get and controlling their expenses. i hope you look at it in detail in the report. there are tables they give more detail. with respect to pharmaceutical companies, that is more of a federal question. we here at the national governors association have to work and to work closely with the federal government to make sure that the state's perspective is considered when they look at programs such as medicare and medicaid. too often the government has the
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tendency to try to address its own picture by lending -- adding mandates on to the states. we try to make sure there is a fair treatment between the two. the promise you highlight are more federal problems that we have to work with the federal government to make sure comes out with a good resolution for all. host: barry anderson is the deputy director of the national governors association. he mentioned the report, looking at the big squeeze, how states are fairing. caller: good morning. i would like to speak on your program. i always watched c-span. they'd let these big companies
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go overseas. when these companies are in this country, they have to pay -- to people pay after medicare, half their social security, and the company pays the other half. these dyes overseas, they are paying them 50 cents an hour -- these guys overseas. there are no jobs. i know that is what the problem is. they sent all the jobs overseas. host: let's talk about that. what does that mean for states? guest: thank you for your question. i was in the international world of the imf and the organization for economic cooperation and development in paris.
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we got to take a look at it from that perspective. you mentioned china. from the perspective of the european countries. in the long term when you can take a function -- building cars, making clothes -- if one country can do more efficiently, that is the country that should be doing it. i am more optimistic about the u.s. we may not be able to do some of the more elementary things as cheaply as the japanese or others. we have a lot of innovation and flexibility. the productivity figures in europe have gone up of late. the u.s. has done pretty well
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coming out of the recession. i'm not quite the pessimistic was indicated in your question. i think the more adaptable we are, we might be doing the same things we did in decades past, but will be doing different things and different things that can still keep people employed. host: bernie from denver, colorado. caller: good morning. i watched the first governors' conference when it sat on the stage. the only governor did not swear or almost swear he would not touch education as a means of dealing with the budget in colorado. he took a $30 billion out of the budget as soon as he could.
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i reach out daily for funds and foundations and trusts to have money so we can send our dependent kids to college. we have been largely successful. many of these foundations say we cannot do the things that directly affect our community. education is the passport to our future. all the other things are not meaningless. unless we address our country being 28th on the country of industrial countries, we're not going to solve other problems. not medicaid or the social security issues or the cost of health care. we need to educate our young children so they can do this work. host: let's get a response from our guest.
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guest: i think all the governors believe in education. one of the phrases that was made difficult to translate from english to other countries a was "bang from the buck." you have to see what we get out of that. there are districts to look at what they get for their education dollar and say, can we get a better degree of education? can we provide a longer-term and more reliable education for our students with the same or maybe less money? and governors are doing that. i don't think we should define how we're doing on education just based on the aggregate of money we spend on it.
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i am not sure what the governor in colorado is doing, but i know every governor is taking a careful look at it and trying to get a better bang for the buck. host: john in chantilly, virginia. caller: i am an immigrant who came to this country 30 years ago. we have politicians that are corrupted. the reality -- i am crying inside that this country, people divided by democrat and republican. those corrupted politicians are taking advantage of the people. if this country goes down, we will all go down. it is a sad day. people say our education is
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going bottom. as an immigrant, most of you are saying the government should stay out of it. americans do not know what they have. go to somalia. see how they operate. we need something that works for our country. forget about democrats and republicans. get rid of these politicians. he cares about who pays him first. host: let's get a response. the national governors association does represent governors of both parties. tell us about your reaction. guest: the republicans are and the democrats are called the d's.
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i am not an r or a d. i mentioned my international experience. take a look at what is happening in europe. there is a lot of criticism. i wouldn't trade our system for what they have in europe at all. we are facing significant problems at the state level and that the federal level does not mean that other systems are facing those problems better than we are. it is a difficult time. pretty much what you hear is about the differences of opinion. our system clearly can be improved. still, i would not trade our system for another. we look at reforms.
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host: barry anderson is deputy director at the national governors association. he has also served as a director of the budgeting and public expenditures division at the organization for economic cooperation and development. as you look at what is coming down the pike, is there concern about the government trying to get more from states and increase in what you call the squeeze? guest: yes. it is in three different ways. i mention the health care. health care is a joint program. the cost of health care is going up. we're monitoring as those costs go up that congress does not save the federal monies by on the states.
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we have been able to stop them and we will continue to monitor that. i mentioned it cuts to the appropriations in 2012 and the sequester that states are facing in 2013. we try to monitor that to make sure that the government does not put the grants to states at the bottom of the barrel. we think that if cuts are made, there should be a fair judgment in taking a look at in a very equitable manner to see what can be done best. states frequently are best at delivering the services. much of the discussion in the past and future is going to be about federal taxes.
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a lot of those provisions can have a direct impact on state taxes. some states tie their tax rates directly to the federal government. the deduction for interest on state and local bonds can have the direct impact. from those freeways, we are monitoring for a closely and working with the federal government to make sure that the fiscal situation does not have a disproportionate impact in the 50 states. host: michael joins us from atlanta, georgia. caller: i have a quick question. that's the problem. back i was talking about -- that guy was talking about a pox on both of their houses. people were in the street saying
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it would destroy this economy. nobody tune in to their arguments. minute like we were some french -- made it like we were some fringle. -- fringe. we fought two wars without paying for it. people on occupy wall street getting hit in the head. call a spade a spade. we are in this problem for one reason. this makes no sense. like rich people made all the money among themselves and people did not help them. teachers educating their employees. guest: michael, my experience in
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40 years of working in budgeting in the u.s. and at the state level and at the international level is that the trend is clear -- budgets become more and more complex. that seem to be pretty much by design. people like us here at nga and i used to work, the congressional budget office, and elsewhere, try to help explain what is happening, but it is eric confusing. i would suggest to you, when you look at -- it is very confusing. i would suggest you, when you look at this, look at it in simplistic terms. budgets generally take money out of the group that is working and did it to those that are either too old to work or too young -- and give it to those that are
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either too old to work or too young. not is the measure of how successful the but it is. -- that is the measure of how successful a budget is. perhaps we have been spending too much on the transfer and not getting enough to support the economy. how much should we spend on the older generation? how much should we spending to promote education? because, in the long term, education, as was talked about before, is going to be the reason why the country grows. this intergenerational transfer, as the college in budgeting, is critically important. -- as we call it in budgeting, is critically important. i suggest that you look to see how much is coming out of those that are working and going to those retired or those too young to work. host: gary anderson is with the national governors' association. -- barry anderson is with the
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national governors association . caller: good morning. i have a question for your bus. i was wondering why the national governors association does not stand and take to task our federal government, who lies to us on a daily basis. case in point, you turn on your tv, you turn on your radio, and we're being told the unemployment rate is eight. are% from 9.5%. -- is 8.5%, 9.5%. sit down and have a meeting with the director of the office and they will laugh. this is not true, they will tell you. they are not counting the people who have already exhausted their unemployment. nobody wants to hear of this.
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nationalnot the governors' association -- national governors association take the federal government to task? guest: we talked about that report with the governors. no matter how it happens, the more people working, the better it is. we were very quick to put a lot that the increase in employment and the drop in the unemployment rate are somewhat misleading. by that, first of all, i mentioned that the numbers of employed are primarily private sector, not government. more importantly, a lot of the increase in employment and the decrease in unemployment are for two factors that need to be
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taken into account. one is seasonal workers being hired for the christmas season, the temporary aspect. i hope those workers stay around, but maybe this increase in employment will not be permanent. it may only last month are two or something like that -- month or two or something like that. more importantly, you are saying that -- a lot of people stop looking for work -- stopped looking for work. respect to looking beyond the statistics, -- with respect to looking beyond the statistics, i think we do a good job of it. we called to attention -- call it to the attention of the
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administration. statistics can be misused. host: let's look at some of the numbers. 2010 -- $61 billion went to states. the allocation in 2011 -- $51 billion. fiscal year 2012 -- $3 billion. can states ask for more money? guest: we have been talking about how successful programs are, what did they be education are recovery -- whether they be education or recovery. sure, states can ask for more money. with the assessment of the success of the recovery act still very much in doubt, i do not think it is a likely story. in fact, quite the contrary. i think that we are all looking at a decreasing size of the pie. when you look at that, if the federal government is going to be spending less, then what you
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want to do is spend more on those programs that work best. part of the in g-8 is the center for best practices -- nga is the center for best practices. that is what we try to do, look at the programs that work best. i did not the we're going to say, let's have a new recovery act. -- i do not think that we're going to say, let's have a new recovery act. we are going to be very strong to say, look, here are programs that work better than others. cut other places. do not cut these. host: michigan, good morning. paula >> good morning. good morning, -- caller: good morning. good morning, barry. new governor of michigan has attacked her salary pensions --
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the new governor of michigan has tacked pensions -- tax pensions. as of now, i do not think there we have employed any more people -- i do not think that we have employed any more people. why is he going after retirees? my opinion is that i will move out of it. if he is wanted tax my pension, -- if he is going to tax my pension, i cannot afford him. he went back to the retirees. guest: michigan faces very difficult problems. we have worked with them, recognizing they have done a pretty good job relative to a couple years ago, getting their fiscal picture in much better shape than it was. they imposed the tax on retirees. my suggestion before you pack
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your bags is, look where you're going to move. i believe most states tax retirees now. be careful not to -- not that they all do. with respect to what he did with revenue, as pointed out in our physical survey, michigan was in a very difficult situation, two, three years ago. they have restored a much -- a better picture of fiscal sanity, fiscal picture for their state. just to get back to that level took a lot of effort, some very difficult efforts, like what you're talking about. it is unfortunate. you and others got used to a certain way. unfortunately, the fiscal situation we face at this state level, the federal level, even the local level is going to demand changes. host: our guest, barry anderson,
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just mentioned that fiscal survey of states, something that the national governors association recently put out. let's go to a question on twitter. about a leeway or abilities that states have their own decisions to make. guest: he said a 1.10% tax on his retirement benefit was prompting him to consider moving. understandably. americans do a very good job of voting with their feet. that is perhaps a nasty statement, but it actually helps the country. if once they get out of balance -- one state gets out of balance, people will move to where there is better employment. with respect to taxes on the super rich, you have to look at what that might mean. it might not mean an increase in revenues, but rather, more of
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the rich might take their income and move to a state where there are no taxes or less taxes. it is not clear that attacks on the super rich -- of attacks on the super rich can solve the problems of the state -- it is not clear that taxing the super rich can solve the problems of the state. and you have to -- what is the tax structure on corporate? there is competition right now between illinois and indiana on corporate taxes, where indiana is trying to attract corporations from in no way to move across the border because of lower tax rates. -- from illinois to move across the border because of lower tax rate. you have to look at the tax structure, recognizing is a very
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competitive situation vis-a-vis other states. host: let's hear from a caller in california. good morning. caller: good morning. there is a case of medicare fraud. the office of budget management, 2008, said that there were $23.7 billion in improper payments in 2007-2008. another issue was that they paid 478,500 claims. that totaled $92 million from 2000 till 2007, including payments of $16,500 -- host: can you give us a sense of where you are going with this? caller: just give me a second. those were paid to deceased people. here is the question -- what is
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your guest's organization doing to combat medicare fraud in each state? if that were the case, if it were down to the manageable figures, that would result in billions of dollars being available to you in an effective, useful manner. guest: the but it control act of 2011, the act that was passed in early august to get as out of the debt limit for several months -- to get us out of the debt limit situation recognized the fraud in medicare. medicare is a federal program. medicaid is the joint federal -- is the joint state programs. they passed something as part of that bill called program integrity funding. the idea is to provide a specific amount of money that is not going to be sequestered or
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cut to specifically get at fraudulent payments made in these programs and take action to reduce them. this is not primarily a state responsibility. states certainly want to work with the federal government, particularly in medicaid, to make sure money is spent by the federal government and state is done so in a non-fraudulent manner. the money i am talking about for program integrity -- i continue to monitor that. it will not be cut in appropriations or by the sequestered in the months ahead. in the months ahead. hoste >> good morning. -- host: good morning. caller: who appointed you to your office? there are 35 republicans to have
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cut the budget enormously in the schools. enormously. alcohol abuse of us who are going to get impeached -- look at all of these guys who are going to get impeached. the party is over. we're going to take back the country. that will be the way it goes. thank you. caller: the national governors association is run by the 50 governors, no surprise. there is an executive committee that just appointed the new executive director, who named me as deputy. with respect to the executive committee, it is composed of nine governors, five republican, four democrat. what the association tries to do and i think has done successfully in the past is operating very much in a bipartisan way, taking into
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account both views. as i said, that fits me to tea. i'm not either and are already -- fits me to a t, because i'm not aeither an r or a d. they have been looking at this. i do not think it is fair to say just one party has made the cuts and not the other. the thing you really should look at, thomas, is not just the amount of money spent, but the uck. for the bo can we get as good, if not better, results? where does the money go? do we spend more to look on functions that cannot be cut or rationalized and spend more on
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science, mathematics, and other things that are going to be more important in the future? our this suggest to you, thomas, look beyond just the numbers and see what we get. host: barry anderson with the national governors' association, where he serves as deputy director -- national governor suppor -- national governors association, where he serves as deputy director. first, a news update from c-span radio. >> it is 9:16 a.m. eastern time. the u.s. ambassador to pakistan says the united states is vacating their pace there -- is vacating an airbase there. this is in response to demands by islamabad. the change is not expected to significantly curtaile drone
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attacks. pakistan was prime minister says his country wants to rebuild ties with the united states -- pakistan's prime minister says his country wants to rebuild ties with united states. he says it is "doable and will not take long to achieve what the comments may reassert -- to achieve what are the comments may reassure those who are meeting -- he says it is "doable and will not take long to achieve." at the conference, secretary of state clinton says the international community has too much to lose if afghanistan, in her words, again becomes a source of terrorism and instability. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> it is so convenient to lessen the c-span, anytime, anywhere, with the free c-span radio app.
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get free, streaming audio of all three networks. listen to our programs, including "q&a," the "newsmakers," "the communicators," and more. find out more at c-span.org /radioapp. >> tonight on "the communicators," a look at federal spectrum policy. the guests will discuss the choices facing broadcasters, telecom, congress, the president, and fcc. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. host: every monday at 9:15 is our special feature, your money. we look at the cost of operating the health care program for those who work for the federal government. our guest is walton francis,
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author of the "checkbook guide to health plans for federal employees." cross is for being here -- i think you for being here -- thank you for being here. guest: thank you. we're talking about a total of 8 million people, the largest employer health insurance program in america. host: how does that compare to what we think of as typical private plans? guest: it is quite similar in one respect and quite different in another. the plans to get -- you get are the same as if he worked at ibm, general electric'. the difference is that federal employees have, issued -- in most cities, 24 to 25 plants to
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choose from. other employers offer just one p.o. or hmo -- ptl or hmo -- ppo or hmo. host: you can call 202-628-0184 for federal employees. 737-0002an -- 202- you mentioned a lot of tauruses and selection. how is that federal employee choosing which planned ban -- which plan works for them? guest: i help them choose with the "checkbook guide."
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people choose different ways. some people like the managed care, the protection, the arranging of coordinated care. other people cannot stand that. it is driven by what people's preferences are. the main thing is money. plans differ in how well the cover you and in premiums -- they cover you and in premiums. the end ofwe're near the federal open season. it is a one-month period where you pick a plan for next year. a lot of tourists, a lot of options, a lot of flexibility -- a lot of choices, a lot of options, a lot of flexibility.
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host: walton francis, author of "checkbook guide to health plans for federal employees." the fehbp was designed as a multi plant competitive system through political accident are resulting from pressures -- was designed as a multiplan competitive system through political accident, resulting from pressures -- guest: 1 with a good improved benefits -- one way to improve benefits was through the health plan. in the 50's the had to go through private plans. some hmos were created for federal employees. there were a lot of union plans. in 1959, they realized they
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should provide benefits of the way that large companies do. the politics of the moment were such that there was a grandfather rule. all the existing plans wanted to stay in the program. by accident of how this develops, they did not set up one single plan. that is how it happened. host: let's hear from mary, calling from alexandria, va., a federal employee. caller: i have a question in reference to what goes into capping the actual allegations that federal employees have to pay. -- i locations that federal employees have to pay -- obligations -- allocations that
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federal employees have to pay. those in the washington, d.c. area pay more than other federal employees -- washington, d.c., area pay more than other federal employees. who determines how much the federal employee has to pay? before i entered the federal government, i worked in the private sector. it seemed as if i paid far less to receive the same benefits. guest: the answer is on no one decides, except the employees themselves. the federal contribution is based on the average of plans. there is a complicated formula. on average, it is about 73% of the premium cost, the same percentage as the average for the private sector as a whole.
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the neat thing is that while the paroled -- federal pay increase is -- there is a federal pay freeze, there is moneyline on the table. people can switch from the plan they are in to save money. that gives you a pay increase if you are interested in changing plans. there are lots of bargains. host: would that mean a decrease in services? guest: not necessarily. eat plan passed a bill the costs of the people who enroll in yet. -- it. hmos are little better at controlling costs. their premiums tend to be about the same. their benefits are more generous. high deductible plans are now featured in the federal employee program. they have been around for five or six years.
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there are very good benefits. host:, let's go to george -- rose in georgia -- host: let's go to rose in georgia. caller: we were given two joyce's. -- traces -- traces -- choices. it does not include deductibles in the $700 payment per month. host: are you a federal employee? caller: retired. my pension is only $900 per month. i am paying $700 for a monthly premium cost that does not begin to cover things. guest: she is not in the rhetoric regular retire me --
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she is not in the regular federal retiree plan. she did not say if she was of a family, but even for family coverage, it is not $700 per month for blue cross. it does cover medicine. you need to go check with management and talk about your situation. maybe something has been fouled up somehow. that is not a typical experience, or what is legally available. host: we are talking to walton francis, author of "checkbook guide to health plans for federal employees." let's look at you of the numbers. -- let's look at a few of the numbers.
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guest: over 200 plans all over the country. most are local hmo's. any one federal employee typically has two dozen choices. they include hmo's, high- deductible, consumer-driven, and fee-for-service/ppo plans. most of those give you the preferred provider benefits. host: is it more expensive to the taxpayer to have so many options? does it matter at the end of the day to the bottom line? guest: it is actually cheaper.
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the beauty of the program, because it is not one fit -- it may lower costs and offer better service to increase enrollment. one of the methodist to compete is to keep costs down -- home of the methods to compete -- of one of the methods to compete is to keep costs down. there is a sharp contrast. medicare, government-controlled, government run health plan -- it used to be that everyone had to be in the one plan. medicare advantage. host: susan is a federal employee here in washington, d.c. welcome. caller: i want to ask for advice on an issue i keep trying to sort out. it looks like blue cross blue
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shield is changing its prescription policy. i have been losing their preferred -- using their preferred-provider system. i have been getting mailings that they have chosen at cbs care markets -- cvs caremark as their preferred provider. can you help me sort this out? guest: what they have done is gotten bids on pharmacy management companies to tried to get a better deal for the enrollees. that is the way the system works. typically, plans will cover lots of local pharmacies, most chains. walmart, cvs, so on. it might be a reason for you to change. they are maintaining the same prescription drug benefits. that is quite generous, particularly for generics. you pay almost nothing.
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host: if you're a federal employee, the number is 202-628- 0104. let's go to a republican caller in florida. caller: good morning. i do not want to talk about health care. host: what do you want to talk about? caller: i want to talk about congress, who are supposed to take care of the law-abiding citizens in the country. give us a question for our guest, relating to his subject matter. caller: if you would listen -- i want every federal employee to do what they have asked everybody else to do, take a 10% cut for the next two years. you take a big dent out of the federal budget. host: a sense we're talking about health care and health benefits program -- since we are
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talking about health care and the health benefits program, could there be real cuts in the benefits they get as a way of saving money? guest: there is a cut. there is a freeze for federal employees. cost of living up is going up. there is like a 3% salary cut that will happen automatically next year. it would not surprise me if it does not happen another year or two in a row. host: there are ways the government could tighten or restrict the plan to save money. guest: they use to pay 60% of the average premium, doing some kind of complicated populations -- calculations. it ended up being closer to 70%. it was lowered. that was a trade-off between cutting health benefits or
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salary. there have been proposals to cut federal employee health benefits. the simpson-polls commissioned argued for that -- simpson- bowles commission argued for that. , >> i think we would not natapei everything -- caller: everything was working before the private-sector unemployment when so bad. now that revenue is gone. -- went so bad. now that revenue is gone. we have to pay into our own benefits, which we never had to do. i think it is 7000 regulations got erased that the administration put in. the private workers would go back to work. the revenue would be there.
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we woudln't -- wouldn't have this problem at all. guest: i don't think there aren't a lot of opeople -- people who disagree. in fairness, the administration has proposed reforms to save money, but it will play out as the congress, president, and voters all struggle with choices. host: kevin, you are on with walton francis. caller: i am a retired federal employee with an hmo. the monthly premium jumps in 2012. without doctor copays, drug
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copays, this premium accounts my gross income. toouldn't there be a limit prevent people from exorbitant costs -- to protect people from exorbitant cost? guest: the eight to well into a hard time -- the hmo is in a hard time and has to increase cost. find a lower-cost plan. there are plenty of choices. you've got less than two weeks period.federal open
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you could get a decrease. host: let's look at the nu mbers. guest: good numbers. host: how so -- how so? guest: they are correct. yeara $50 billion per program. huge. opm does a great job in day-to- day and year-to-year
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management. the medicare plan -- drugs take a higher prescription. this program controls drug costs, too. caller: i am a postal retiree on assistance. my premiums have jumped. i am with aetna. $580 to moring from e than $800. the plans in my area -- we have, like, four hmo's. way out of reach.
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i look at the ppo's. when you go to pay for certain items, like having a test done, they take a big chunk. 10% of the total cost, which could be thousands. anything to offset. i have to find another plan. i have not been able to find anything. they do not give the postal retirees a good choice. guest: she has the same dresses. she has read the two dozen plans to choose from -- she has the
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same choices. she has two dozen plans to choose from. in her case, look at blue cross basic. is this -- it is a ppo plan that keeps you in the network. has the copayment the structure the most hmo's have. whatevery 10 bucks or for prescription drugs, $30 for the doctor. it has very good -- host: why does usps want to pull out of the program? guest: it was set up to run on a
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business pasis. congress cannot close a rural without an act of congress. they are suffering badly in the economic climate. they have an aging work force. they have their eye on $30 billion that they would have to pay in under current law to cover the cost of their future retirees, $40 billion that has already paid in for their current retirees. the only way they could pick up to get the really big taxpayer subsidy they are looking for was to pull out of the -- they claim that it can run the program more effectively than the personnel. that is simply not true.
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they're more expensive. they are benefiting from being in the same pool as other federal workers. host: if the u.s. b.s. pulls out of the -- usps pulls out of the fehbp, what are the implications for others? guest: if you are an hmo in some small town or small city, the postal workers are probably a big fraction of the work force. you will think twice of -- about staying in the program. it could be hugely disruptive. a lot of plans in this program are postal worker union plans, but anybody can join them. the irony is postal worker premiums to maintain current benefits will have to go up at least 10% because of the more
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expensive structure of the workforce. host: james is running is from illinois. caller: this is a simple question. i have been disabled and on a pension for about 12 years now from the postal service. i have blue cross blue shield. my question is, why did they offer only two plans? my wife and i do not have any children anymore. why did not offer a couples-only plan -- why do they not offer a couples-only plan? guest: the law does not allow for the option. it is common in the private sector. this law says there are only self-only or family-only. because you are older, you are more expensive. people in their 50's typically
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cost twice as much on average as adults in their 20's. kids are cheap to cover. there was a couple premium just for people who had no kids. you're lucky you don't have it. host: walton francis, author of "checkbook guide to health plans for federal employees." linda from cromwell, connecticut. caller: i am a single, retired teacher, getting my health insurance through the school system, cigna. it costs me $630, which seems exorbitant. i'm thinking of moving out of the state, but i have to keep this insurance. i wondered if there was any recourse to recover that cost. guest: i thing she is a good
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example of why this is such a good program. she is stuck with whatever deal the school board cut in terms of retiree benefits. if you are paying $600 a month, you are paying a lot. they are not subsidizing your premium very much. you are stock. -- stuck. if you are -- for a federal employee, you could pick plans to keep costs down. when you turn 65 and join medicare, you will find there are some very expensive choices called medicare advantage plans. it are just like federal employee plans. there are hmos, ppo's, and fee- for service, with premiums no higher than medicare part b. host: good news. channel 11 news --
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talking about the postal service in particular. it says -- what the thing, -- what do you think, walton francis? guest: it's not the size of the purchasing pool. be a lot of plans only have a few thousand enrollees -- a lot of those plans only have a few
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thousand enrollees. some plans offer better bargains. host: there is competition. guest: it works. it keeps costs down. xpayerthe plans are ta paid/subsidized. the government should offer them to everyone. guest: choices have to be made in terms of wages and benefits, including health insurance. there are really reductions being made, just not in this program at this time to the question of the model, for everybody, it has been proposed many times. there have been bills introduced in congress to let all the unemployed, and insured in america -- uninsured in america
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join the system. it was based on fehbp. the state-insurance exchanges are modeled, in large part, .fter the fehbp it is a proven success. host: a customer, patient could have more to choose. by making it a broader marketplace, you create incentive for companies to lower -- lure clients over. guest: absolutely. massachusetts has a couple different companies where people have 15 to 20 plans to choose from.
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they can go to the plan to offer a better deal. host: good morning, texas. caller: several months ago, newt gingrich was a new program. he gets his health care still from the federal government -- was on your program. he gets his health care still from the federal government. why is that? if he quits in the private sector, he would not get it. i am under the impression that, after five years, these guys -- why is it that they can collect? guest: the members of congress and their staff are in the same health insurance program as the rest of the federal employees, on pretty much the same terms and conditions. i have no personal knowledge of
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newt gingrich's health coverage. it is quite possible he was able to retire and keep his health insurance in the retirement. there is an interesting twist on health reform. one of the provisions is that, starting in 2014, members of congress will have to join the health insurance exchanges of this like the uninsured. for now, they suffer the same -- asefit from the same choices everybody else. host: sheila is a federal employee. caller: i make $30,000 per year. people always talk about the government employees and what they may. if the government -- if all the employees would stop, the united states would shut down. as far as the insurance, i think medicare for all. they take medicare adam are checked anyway. i think that would also get a
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lot of money to medicare. thank you. guest: that is an option. what the postal service is proposing is to require all postal retirees to go on medicare. most federal retirees a left medicare. medicare becomes their primary payer -- retirees select medicare. medicare becomes their primary payer. there are improvements to be made in the way the program is designed as it relates to medicare. medicare for all is a whole different issue. i do not think very many people, certainly not congress or the president, have proposed that kind of radical reform. >> -- host: good morning. caller: i have a couple of quick questions. what is the average age of the fehbp client? second, wired the blue cross
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blue shield standard rates the same across the country -- why are the blue cross blue shield standard rates the same across the country? my understanding is that opium will be required to provide multistate qualified health plans. if the private sector decides not to participate, it is in that kind of a back door way to have a public option. guest: you are very well informed. most of the plans and the system, what i call the national plans -- in the system, what i call the national plans, have been around a long time. a g-- hmo's come and go. some have been around forever. others can and leave. there is free entry for any hmo,
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but not for national plans. it is something of a myth that costs vary widely. there are better subsidies in high-cost areas. when healthth reform -- health a compromise was struck, including a couple of features such as co-op plans starting in 2014. opium is supposed to run and
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manage two multistate -- opm is supposed to run and manage two multistate programs. it was between -- given that opm has an incredible track record of managing the program well, indeed, they are running or facilitated the management of the feature that is currently operating, operated by one of the fehbp plans. we'll see how it plays out. we have a well-functioning, existing system, competitive. it keeps costs down. it keeps benefit choices where people want them. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. host: question coming in by e- mail for our guest, walton francis.
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guest: a great question, again. there is a pool. all current federal employees and retirees -- everyone in the country -- they are in the same pool, including 20-somethings who think they are immortal and have no health care costs. it includes a 80-year-old boss. it includes those 65 and up who elect -- typically, they will get part a for free. most elect to take part b. there is no special for any group. those who elect to take part b are paying more. i mentioned the wraparound.
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you could go out of network. host: let's hear from camisa, a democratic caller in dallas. caller: i am a federal employee. why would you decrease our pay and an increased our health care -- and then increase our health care? all of us do not make the same money across the board to that is obvious. why would you do that the federal employees? it is not our fault the economy is bad. guest: a another -- another great question in sharp contrast to the previous caller. health plan costs go up every
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year. as you mentioned, the federal share will be going up 3.8%. that is not big. you can shop around and save $1,000 or more. it's like giving yourself a pay increase. host: stephanie from utah. caller: we live in rural area in utah. we have three plans available in our town. because of the zero area, the doctors are -- because it is a rural area, the doctors aren't attracted to the area. i have to disagree that we have hundreds of choices.
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we only have three. they are national plans. can you comment? guest: i can only say there are rougly 20 plan choices for every federal employee. go online to www.opm.gov/insure to get a very excellent exposure to the choices you have. or the checkbook website. shortage of is a networks of providers. they work great in cities, not well in rural areas.
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what i have advised people is to ask the providers, say, what plans are you? it's very likely he's in at least the blue cross programs. host: walton francis, author of "checkbook guide to health plans for federal employees." guidetohealthplans.org. that's all for "washington journal." see you tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern time. have a good day. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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♪ >> on this monday, some campaign 2012 road to the white house news -- newt gingrich has scheduled a briefing for today in new york city. we will have that for you live starting at 1:45 eastern on cspan 3. both the house and senate are in session today. the house will be in four speeches at noon and legislative work will get under way at 2:00. several landfills are on the schedule with no votes expected. the senate is starting its day at 2:00 eastern and will vote on judicial nominations at 5:30. if you can watch the house live here on c-span and the senate is always on c-span 2. the center for american progress today will post a discussion on the state o
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